Earlier today, the Media Institute released its “Net Vitality Index In Detail” report, which is a data-heavy companion to its report from April this year called “Net Vitality: Identifying the Top-Tier Global Broadband Internet Ecosystem Leaders.” For those who like to wonk out on broadband stats — which we definitely do — both reports are worth digging into. From the press release accompanying the new report:
Harvard Law School faculty member and Media Institute Global Internet Freedom Advisory Council member Stuart N. Brotman authored both reports. He compiled the detailed data released today for the benefit of scholars, researchers, and policymakers who desire an in-depth look at the metrics used in assessing the broadband Internet ecosystem capabilities of countries around the world.
Based on five years of research, the Net Vitality Index is the first holistic analysis of the global broadband Internet ecosystem, identifying the United States, South Korea, Japan, United Kingdom, and France as the top-tier leaders. Unlike the one-dimensional rankings that serve as the basis of most broadband comparative studies, Brotman’s composite analysis takes into account 52 indices developed independently to evaluate countries on an apples-to-apples basis. Overarching categories assessed encompass applications and content, devices, networks, and macroeconomic factors.
The new detailed report is a treasure trove of data. Some highlights:
• While Windows 7 still dominates when it comes to personal computer operating systems, both Android and Apple’s iOS rank in the top 5 — which is pretty incredible given both operating systems are less than a decade old.
• Surprisingly, at 56.4%, the United States ranks 13th when it comes to smartphone penetration. The leader? The United Arab Emirates at 73.8% penetration.
• The United States continues to domination when it comes to investment in telecommunications, more than doubling the dollars invested by China over the same time period.
• When it comes to mobile app development, the United States is the leader of the world, with the vast majority of apps dominating the charts globally having been developed by U.S. companies.
• Nine of the top 10 digital startups globally are based in the United States.
The Media Institute’s April report “Net Vitality: Identifying the Top-Tier Global Broadband Internet Ecosystem Leaders” is available here. The “Net Vitality Index In Detail” report is available here. Happy reading!
Next week, one of the biggest video games of the year, Titanfall, will be released. Except, as it turns out, in South America. As Kyle Orland of Ars Technica reports:
When Titanfall finally sees its worldwide release next week, South Africa will not be among the countries to get a version of the game. Early this morning, EA South Africa announced via Facebook that it has decided to hold off on a local release after poor Internet performance during the game’s recent beta test. South Africa’s Gamezone reports that local preorders are being canceled both by Origin and area brick-and-mortar retailers.
“After conducting recent online tests for Titanfall, we found that the performance rates in South Africa were not as high as we need to guarantee a great experience, so we have decided not to release Titanfall in South Africa at this time,” the post reads. “We understand this is a disappointment for local fans and will keep fans posted on any future plans regarding the release of Titanfall in South Africa.”
Interestingly, the video game’s online servers are powered by Microsoft’s cloud service, Azure, and the closest data center to South Africa is in Brazil. While missing out on a video game is no big deal in the grand scheme of things (unless you were excited to play it), Titanfall‘s absence in South Africa highlights the challenges involved in building an international product that is dependent on a robust Internet infrastructure.
Over at Maximum Entropy, Bret Swanson (who is also an IIA Broadband Ambassador) digs through the 390 pages that make up the OECD’s annual Communications Outlook report. Noting that “in recent times the report has also served as a chance for some to misrepresent the relative health of international broadband markets,” Swanson writes:
The common refrain the past several years was that the U.S. had fallen way behind many European and Asian nations in broadband. The mantra that the U.S. is “15th in the world in broadband” — or 16th, 21st, 24th, take your pick — became a sort of common lament. Except it wasn’t true.
Swanson goes on to write that recent numbers from Cisco’s Visual Networking Index report reveal America leads the world when it comes to the amount of IP traffic generated and consume “both in per user and per capita terms.” That means, according the Swanson, that:
[I]t’s not possible for the U.S. to both lead the world by a large margin in Internet usage and lag so far behind in broadband. We think these traffic per user and per capita figures show that our residential, mobile, and business broadband networks are among the world’s most advanced and ubiquitous.
Swanson’s full post is worth checking out. The Communications Outlook report is available on the OECD’s website.
At CNet, Lance Whitney points to a new report from the International Telecommunication Union that finds the cost of broadband globally has dropped 50% in just the last two years. That’s the good news. But the drop in prices isn’t reaching every country:
Some of the countries that enjoy the lowest broadband prices relative to their high incomes include the U.S., Austria, Monaco, Macau (China), and Liechtenstein. In all, individuals in 31 highly industrialized countries tend to pay only around 1 percent of the gross national income per capita for basic broadband.
But in 32 countries, people pay more than half the average monthly income for basic broadband. And in a small number of developing countries, basic broadband is more than 10 times the monthly average income. Some of the countries where broadband is beyond the average salary include Tajikistan, Swaziland, Uzbekistan, and Papua New Guinea.